Heavily armed assailants attacked civilians in the villages of Malual Aleu, Banton, Awolnhom, Abathok, Majbong, Awal, and east of Rumamier, using rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, reportedly over a land dispute.
At least 37 people are reported to have been killed and several others injured, including women and children. Villages were also set on fire and thousands of cattle were stolen.
UNISFA is making all efforts to restore calm, protect civilians, and engage with local authorities, community leaders, civil society, and other stakeholders to prevent retaliatory attacks, it added.
The mission has also increased land and air patrols to deter further violence and protect civilians.
‘Blue helmets’ attacked
According to UNISFA, peacekeepers serving with the mission were also targeted during the clashes.
An armored personnel carrier came under heavy fire during an ambush, and UN ‘blue helmets’ at a base in Marial Achak were fired upon before the attackers were repelled.
No fatalities were reported.
Arises in clashes
The bloodshed came a week after more than 50 people, including two UN peacekeepers, were killed in similar attacks on civilians over land disputes.
UNISFA peacekeepers are currently sheltering and providing basic support to more than 2,000 of those displaced in their bases.
The Council’s action came in response to rampant violence and population displacement in the region as South Sudan was preparing to formally declare independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, culminating the 2005 peace agreement.
Resource-rich Abyei had witnessed scores of deadly clashes that drove over 100,000 people from their homes in the weeks before the Security Council decision.